The Unexpected Acceleration of Global Warming

On Tuesday night I was listening an NPR report about the story on global warming. The discussion centered on:

  • how warming is occurring faster than any scientists predicted
  • how the public is confused or misinformed about the story
  • how the scientist who first sounded the alarm believes we need to take action now as we already see lots of evidence of global warming…100 years earlier than he expected.

Wish I had the name and a link to the story I heard. I wasn’t able to find it again but I’m certain of what I heard. Our planet is heating up faster than even the most conservative climate scientists predicted.
The most striking signs of warming are our oceans which, under normal conditions, take longer to heat than the atmosphere. The average temperature of the oceans is rising dramatically. This spells trouble for sea creatures, the polar ice caps, our atmosphere, and all creatures on the planet including us.

Our oceans absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide, the most significant greenhouse gas. When the surface of the oceans warm more than a couple of degrees they are unable to perform that function. That means the atmosphere must absorb all the excess CO2, which adds to the greenhouse effect.

Warming seas also threaten sea life, such as coral reefs, which are very susceptible to any increase in water temperature. Large coral reefs around the world are already dying before our eyes.

Additional carbon dioxide in our oceans will cause them to become more acidic and that endangers the basic foodstuff of the ocean ecosystem: plankton.

Warming seas will result in storms that are more severe and strike with greater frequency.

Other Danger Signs:

Satellite measurements and other scientific data provide strong evidence that the Arctic sea ice cover is shrinking faster and becoming thinner than at any time in  history.

With greater areas of the Arctic Sea melting, larger surfaces of water are exposed to sunlight which further increases the rate oceans warm.

Scientists have also studied areas in the northern hemisphere where permafrost and tundra are now melting due to global warming. The result? The organic material that is tundra is beginning to decompose, which adds additional methane and carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

These are just some of the signs of what will be a catastrophe if we don’t do everything in our power to reduce global warming.

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